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The use of English: Language, law, and political culture in fourteenth-century England

Ormrod, W.M. (2003) The use of English: Language, law, and political culture in fourteenth-century England. Speculum, 78 (3). pp. 750-787. ISSN 0038-7134

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Abstract

In 1362 the government of Edward III issued a statute that is one of the best-known, but least-understood, statements on the use of the vernacular in medieval England. The legislation required that English, rather than French, should be the compulsory language of oral communication in all royal and seignorial courts in the land. This article attempts a new evaluation of the place of the statute of 1362 in later medieval legal and political culture. It falls into five parts. The first discusses the text of the statute; the second analyzes the political context in which the legislation was issued; the third explores what the statute may tell us about the royal judicial system operating in the 1360s; the fourth attempts a reevaluation of the more general use of French and English in law, government, and politics during the later fourteenth century, within the context provided by the Hundred Years War and the Anglo-French peace of 1360; and the fifth attempts to reposition the statute and its implications in relation to Henry V's much-vaunted promotion of English as a language of record in the early fifteenth century.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2009 12:32
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2009 12:32
Published Version: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20060788
Status: Published
Publisher: Medieval Academy of America
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7538

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